The Tokyo Reporter

Kyoto driver’s license center mistranslates word elderly as ‘terrible’

An image shows the erroneous translation posted by the Kyoto driving license center (Kyoto Shimbun)

KYOTO (TR) – A driver’s license renewal center here mistranslated “elderly driver” as “terrible driver” in English on an electronic sign, the Asahi Shimbun reported on Thursday (September 22).

The error on the sign meant to display information and reception times was pointed out to Kyoto city officials by a foreign individual, police said.

The mistake at the center was caused by a worker who mistranslated the text, said Kyoto police, which runs the center. Another sign inside the center displayed the same error.

“We apologize for disrespecting the elderly because of our lax checks,” police said.

The Kyoto Shimbun quoted Julian Homes, 59, a translator, as saying that “it’s hard to imagine how the translation ended up this way. It’s proof there’s a lack of proper checks and it’s an insult to the elderly. What an embarrassment to an international city like Kyoto.”

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